RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Turtle soup

TURTLE SOUP
2 pounds turtle meat*
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 stick butter, divided
2 1/2 quarts (10 cups) strong beef broth, preferably made from
beef or veal bones, or canned
8 tablespoons flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 large stalks celery, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 cups tomatoes, diced, fresh or canned
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Thin lemon slices
2 boiled eggs, chopped

Chop thawed turtle meat into small dice. Sprinkle
with salt and freshly ground pepper. In a heavy
skillet, heat on high 1 tablespoon of the butter
and sauté meat, a little at a time, on all sides
until well browned. Add about 1 cup of stock to
deglaze the skillet and leave on a simmer while
completing the next step.
In a large, heavy pot, heat remaining butter and
add flour to make a roux. Stir constantly over
medium-high heat until roux is the color of
peanut butter. Add and sauté onion, bell pepper
and celery until soft. Add garlic and continue
sautéing until vegetables are caramelized. Add
turtle meat and all the juices and brown bits in
the bottom of the skillet. Add remaining broth,
bay leaves, thyme leaves, allspice, Creole
seasoning, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper,
Worcestershire, sherry, tomatoes and lemon juice
and bring almost to a boil. Reduce heat to a
simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours, until meat is
tender. To obtain desired consistency, you may
have to take some or all of the meat and solids
out with a slotted spoon and grind roughly in a
food processor. When cooking is complete, add
parsley.
When ready to serve, garnish with lemon slices
and boiled eggs. Offer additional sherry if
desired. Serves 8 to 10.
For crowds at Carnival parties, you can double or
triple the recipe. The soup can be made ahead of
time and frozen.
*Boneless turtle meat is sold frozen at some seafood stores in
2-pound containers.

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